We demonstrate that it is possible to distinguish two conductance switching mechanisms in silver sulfide devices at room temperature. Experiments were performed using a Ag2S thin film deposited on a wide Ag bottom electrode, which was contacted by the Pt tip of a scanning tunneling microscope. By applying a positive voltage on the silver electrode, the conductance is seen to switch to a state having three orders of magnitude higher conductance, which is related to the formation of a conductive path inside the Ag2S thin film. We argue this to be composed of a metallic silver nanowire accompanied by a modification of the surrounding lattice structure. Metallic silver nanowires decaying after applying a negative voltage allow observing conductance steps in the breaking traces characteristic for atomic-scale contacts, while the lattice structure deformation is revealed by gradual and continuously decreasing conductance traces.
Wagenaar, J. J. T., Morales-Masis, M., & Van Ruitenbeek, J. M. (2012). Observing 'quantized' conductance steps in silver sulfide: Two parallel resistive switching mechanisms. Journal of Applied Physics, 111(1), [014302 ]. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3672824